How To Respond Gracefully To People Who Want To "Push" Food On You

Almost every dieter who tries to lose weight is going to face food pushers at one time or another. Some food pushers can be easily put off by a “No, thank you,” or two. Others are more insistent. Some food pushers want you to eat the food they’re pushing on you because they genuinely want you to experience the flavor or appreciate their efforts; others believe it’s polite or expected to insist. Some may even push food on you because they’re actively trying to sabotage your diet.

Resolve to make eating decisions on the basis of what’s important to you, not to others.

Regardless of who the food pushers are or the motives behind the pushing, your ability to stand firm and say no is always under your control. Here are a few typical food-pushing situations, and tips for navigating yourself out of them.

1. The chronic hard-sell trap: People who keep pushing even after you say no.

In some ways, the best tactic to counter the hard sell is just endurance, or the broken-record technique — as long as your food pusher has no malicious intent, simple repetition of the works no, thanks can work wonders.

2. The buzz-kill trap: You feel responsible for making other people feel better about what they’re eating and drinking.

The realization that you are not responsible for other people’s reactions — as long as you’re being reasonable — can be a watershed moment that affects not only your ability to stick to a healthy eating plan, but can also apply to other important areas of your life.

Resolve to make eating decisions on the basis of what’s important to you, not to others. Watch out for putting other people’s feelings above your own. If they feel bad about their own eating behavior, it’s not your responsibility.

3. The people-pleaser trap: You’re concerned you’ll disappoint food pushers by turning down their food.

We don’t realize that most people don’t let others push them around when it comes to food. A lot of people are naturally good at standing firm if eating certain foods goes against their religious or philosophical practices or health needs. Others have no trouble putting their foot down if they’re trying to lose or maintain their weight, or if they simply don’t want the food. So why should you be any different? If you don’t want something, stand your ground and don’t worry about disappointing anyone.

4. The willing accomplice trap: You don’t fight the food pusher because you secretly want to eat the food.

Develop a strong plan for what you will and won’t eat. Write it down and carry it with you. Spend a few moments seriously reflecting on your list. Make sure it’s crystal clear. Remember, to be firm with someone else, you have to be firm with yourself first.

Food pushers are just people; they are not superior beings, and you don’t have to let them control what you eat. Determine the best method for you to combat these pushers and stick to it.

Excerpted from THE DIET TRAP SOLUTION by Judith S. Beck and Deborah Beck Busis, copyright 2015. Reprinted with permission from HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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